wearekoalas archive

Vintage Bates Jacket 4

1960’s Striped Vintage Bates Leather Jacket from the Archive

Bates Mfg. Company was established in 1940 by Bob Bates in Los Angeles, California. In the beginning, Bob had intentions of making the company into a motorcycle accessories company like the midwest brand Buco and Beck. They made a produced everything for motorcycles from windshields to saddleseats to leather shirts. Bob retired in 1967 and sold the company to to Robert Rudolph who then changed the name to Bates Industries, Inc. and moved to Long Beach, California. It was a great era for the company. Their jackets became more of a priority and they started developing a terrific repuatation as a flat track racer jacket manufacturer. Their biggest achievement in the 1960’s was turning the all-black raceway gear into bright yellows, blues and reds. Bates also gave the consumer several customizing options to make their jackets unique to them. The Grindle family took over Bates in 1996 and they’re still cranking out jackets of high quality to this day.

This particular vintage Bates leather jacket comes from the archives of wearekoalas, these photos are from back in Cedarville. I miss that wall and the excellent old wood floor. My pocketbook doesn’t miss heating that place though… enough about me. This vintage Bates leather jacket was made of an excellent blue color steerhide that had patina’d very nicely! The stripes down the chest and around the arms were excellent customizable additions. I believe this model jacket was produced in the late 1960’s through the mid 1970’s. when the transitioned to their second tag. This one was a great size too. I kinda wish I had this one back for the fall season.

Check out these photos below:


Vintage Bates Jacket 1

Vintage Bates Jacket 2

Vintage Bates jacket 3

Vintage Bates Jacket 4

Vintage Bates Jacket 5

Vintage Bates Jacket 6

Vintage Bates Jacket 7

Vintage Bates Jacket 9

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Buco Leather Jacket model J-22 in Horsehide from the early 1950’s.

One of the greatest and most collectible jackets in the vintage industry is the Buco leather jacket model J-22 in horsehide. This one had the plaid interior liner and the original mouton collar – perfect for the fall riding season! As far as I know the mouton collars were considered “after market” parts of the jacket and were purchased as accessories to these jackets. This one comes to you from the wearekoalas archive – I believe it passed through my online store back in 2011. It appeared that everything on the jacket was all original except for the Scovill main zipper – you can see there’s some extra thread in the stitching around the main zip. I don’t remember these ever having Scovill zippers as original zips. I’ve seen them mostly with the Talon main zippers. If it was replaced, it was done quite a number of years ago.  Beyond that, the jacket was in excellent shape – the horsehide leather was showing a terrific patina, the wool interior liner was immaculate and showed no signs of piling or real wear.  The belt had obviously been used a lot and was showing some great wear but still completely functional.

The retail price of the J-22 Buco leather jacket in 1953 was $32.75 without the additional mouton collar which would set you back an additional $4-5. Now days, they sell for much, much more…

Have a look at some photos of this gorgeous jacket:


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Harley Davidson Jacket 1

Harley Davidson Leather Jacket – The Vintage 60’s Cafe Racer “Sportster” Jacket

In the late 1950’s and 60’s Harley Davidson was making a high quality cafe racer jacket. This Harley Davidson leather jacket was called the “Sportster.” The early ones were made with horsehide and at some point they switched to a steer hide model. This specific model evolved with time and during Harley’s AMF  period they were still making a jacket similar to this one. The AMF variety jackets are floating around out there and can usually be found rather easily. The white “Quality Workmanship” Harley Label jackets are harder to come by. Usually these white label models possess excellent patina from wear. Harley also made this jacket with the black “High Quality Fine Workmanship” Harley label as well.

This Harley Davidson leather jacket possessed the straight main zipper which was usually a “Conmar” zipper. I’ve also seen the “Coats & Clark” as it’s main zipper. There was a single pocket on the left chest. The zipper on the pocket was most often the diamond “Conmar” zipper, though I’ve seen models with an “O” ring zipper. The leather quality varied. Harley Davidson did use some lower quality leather to produce this jacket. The thicker variety of leather is a much more desirable leather. As mentioned before, this jacket has a way of wearing well and eventually showing a gorgeous patina. I’ve included photos of another Sportster jacket as an example of great patina – see all the photos below.

This particular jacket comes from the archives of wearekoalas. I believe it came through our store about 2 years ago. You’ll notice the condition of this jacket was terrific.  The leather was in great shape, all zippers were original and operated as they should and the interior liner was flawless. I can’t remember, but this jacket may have had it’s interior liner replaced.

The Harley Davidson 1960’s cafe racer jacket is a great piece of Harley history and is an extremely versatile  jacket. It’s perfect for motorcycle riding or for the vintage fashionistas among us. …you know who you are.




Harley Davidson Jacket 1

The Harley Davidson “Sportster” Jacket.


Harley Davidson Jacket 2

Single chest pocket.


Harley Davidson Jacket 3

Harley Davidson Jacket Back

The “Sportser” jacket back.


Harley Davidson Jacket Interior 5

Harley Davidson Cafe Racer jacket interior. I believe this interior was replaced.


Harley Davidson Jacket White Label 6

White “Quality Workmanship” Harley Davidson Label.


Harley Davidson Jacket 60's Zipper 6

Conmar main zipper.


Harley Davidson Jacket Pocket zip 7

Conmar Diamond zip on the chest pocket.


Harley Davidson Leather Jacket Great Patina 1

An example of excellent Patina on this model. This jacket has a replaced main zipper and the label has been cut out.


Harley Davidson Leather Jacket Great Patina Back 2

Example of patina on the back.


Harley Davidson Leather Jacket Great Patina Back 3

Another example of patina on the back of this model.



Langlitz Cascade Featured

Langlitz Cascade Jacket in Horeshide from the late 1950’s.

The vintage Langlitz Cascade Jacket is the greatest leather jacket ever made.

I said it. And I mean it.

The first one I ever purchased was bought at a consignment shop in Syracuse, New York on a road trip to see some friends in New Hampshire. It was dated 1969 in the pocket. It had the back pin-striping and no padding. It was long in the torso and fit me like a glove. I was young and stupid and figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find another one eventually. So I sold it to a dealer who made a great offer on it. So far (7 years later!), I still have not found one that fits with that level of beauty or possessed that amazing patina. This vintage Langlitz Cascade Jacket was pretty close but it was much too short for my long torso.

Langlitz has been making these by hand and custom sized since the late 1940’s. The quality and craftsmanship of that first piece is in every piece they’ve produced since. They’ve been based out of Portland, Oregon since their founding. From their website:

 “Langlitz Leathers is a family business that was established in 1947 by Ross Langlitz. While we are no longer a basement operation, we stay small to guarantee the quality and personal attention that larger corporations just cannot provide. When you order a Langlitz, you are not simply a customer. Here at Langlitz Leathers, we will get to know you, and work with you to build your ideal custom garment. Proud Langlitz owners are not simply customers, they are part of our Langlitz Family.”

The guys at Langlitz are really terrific and super helpful. I’ve called them about different vintage pieces I’ve come across and they’re always willing to answer questions and offer advice. They love their own history and know just about everything there is to know about their vintage pieces. One day, I’ll have to do an entire post on the history of this great American company. Truly a gem.


Visit the Langlitz website HERE



The Cascade. Horsehide. Early 1960’s.



Horsehide leather in terrific shape, showing great patina.



Check out that excellent aging.




The back pin striping is my favorite touch.




Interior was near flawless.



Coats Clark zipper had an issue on the male end and needed to be replaced.



All pocket zippers existed and operated as they should.



Missing the pull tab on one of the sleeve cuffs.



Amazing leather made to last several lifetimes!



This white label was the fifth tag, used from 1956 – 1984.

Buco J-31

Buco Leather Jacket model J-31

This is the unique Buco Leather Jacket model “J-31″ in gorgeous horsehide.

I bought this almost a year ago in a Milwaukee suburb and was thrilled to have found it and meet the original owner of the jacket. We spent 45 minutes together on a brisk, sunny afternoon swapping stories and experiences. I enjoyed hearing his tales of classic mid western road trips in his gorgeous Buco leather jacket. It’s always a great opportunity to meet the guys and gals who purchased and owned these vintage leather jackets back in the day.

This particular piece boasts 7 of the original 8 spots across the front. The owner’s son admitted to losing the one spot when he wore the jacket to high school one day back in the 80’s. The jacket possessed the brown second Buco label and was produced between 1950 and 1953. It still possessed it’s working Prentice main zipper, all others were Conmar zips. Terrifically patina’d horsehide leather and a nearly flawless patterned flannel interior make this a piece worth the high $$$. Have a look at the high quality photographs below.

It’s finds like this Buco leather jacket that bring the thrill to the hunt – a great piece of vintage leather jacket history!






Buco J-31 in beautiful horsehide


Bujo J-31 close

Love the patina on this leather


Missing the one spot on the front


Buco J-31 back.

Love the map pockets on the back of the jacket





Excellent plaid flannel interior

Buco J-31 Prentice Zipper

Original Prentice zipper still existed and was functional

Buco J-31 pocket

Missing pocket zipper pull


Conmar zips at sleeves


Buco J-31 brown horsehide label

Brown Buco horsehide label used from the late 1940’s to the early 50’s


Buco 1950’s Engineer Boots in Elk.

Another entry in the wearekoalas collection of past pieces is this pair of gorgeous pair of 1950’s Buco engineer boots. I bought them from a guy in Wisconsin, they were his father’s boots and looked to have little to no wear on them – what we sometimes call “deadstock” across the industry. I had a few questions about the specifics of these boots so I emailed John over at the vintage engineer boot blog for more information. If you haven’t seen his site, it’s quite a resource for all things vintage engineer boots. He was extremely helpful and was kind enough to even post these to his blog. You can see his post here.

These boots were constructed in the 1950’s by the Joseph Buegeleisen Co. and made with Elk leather and brass hardware. (I had emailed John because I was perplexed by the type of leather used for these boots – Elk it is!) The condition was near perfect with just the slightest of scuffing on the soles. I was happy to have these come through my store.

Speaking of our store, we’ve always got interesting and unique pieces passing through, make sure you check us out on eBay at our store page and feel free to contact us directly about items you find there that peak your interest. If you’re looking for particular pieces, have questions or want to provide us some helpful insights – we’d love to hear from you.







Beck Northeaster Jacket in Horsehide from the 1940’s.

One of the classic D Pocketed jackets of the vintage era was the Beck Northeaster jacket. The Northeaster Flying Togs label is still a favorite of collectors. It features that zooming motorcycle rider and the plane flying over head – a whimsical take on freedom. Beck started as a motorcycle and automobile parts distributor in the the early 1910’s and in the late 1920’s started ordering motorcycle jackets from Schott Bros. in New York. They disappeared from the motorcycle industry in the mid 70’s but these beautiful pieces of motorcycle history live on.

This particular jacket was constructed of top quality horsehide in the late 1940’s or early 50’s. It still possessed the half belt and the additional mouton collar. Both were in great shape for their age. It featured the chin strap and all zippers were original and operated properly. The Beck Northeaster D pocket pull tab was always a unique addition. The plaid interior liner was in great shape with just a few minor holes from wear near the bottom.

This Beck Northeaster jacket is a fine example of a classic American made motorcycle jacket.











1930’s Vintage Grizzly Jacket by Laskin

AH, the vintage Grizzly jacket. Certainly, a unique jacket! I’ve had a couple of these vintage Grizzly jackets over the years. This one I bought sometime late last summer. It was a very small size but was still a great example of the amazing construction and creativity of these early jackets.

The Grizzly Jacket was popular in the 1930’s and 40’s and they were produced by a number of different companies. This one was made by Laskin. The leather was usually horsehide and the panels were made with a variety of different furs – from lamb to horse hair and I’ve even seen some with hair-on cow hide panels. They started disappearing in the 1950’s; however, there are a few companies doing excellent reproductions of these jackets today.

The condition of this piece was good. The Laskin label was still in tact, the leather was in great shape – there was one small gouge in one of the lamb skin panels – the interior was in good shape and well maintained, some fading on the back left side. It still had a functional chin strap and belt but was missing a button at the cuff. All the zippers were original to the jacket.

A great piece of classic Americana.